Archive for October, 2013

Guerilla Hits

Posted October 14, 2013 By tjflynn

1. Publix employees must have read my former post about shopping at their competitors. My mom and I, on her 92nd birthday, were exiting a CVS drugstore and were almost run down by a line of approximately 6 carts being steered by rogue teenager in a Publix outfit. He should not have been going so fast. Nor should he have been right up against the wall. But most of all, he should not have told me that the carts don’t have brakes.

2. OnlineMetals.com and ZoroTools.com provided perfect service on orders of stuff for my sailboat in the $300 range. Prompt shipping and all the right parts…

3. Burger King employees became flustered with a 10-burger order in front of me and misplaced my ticket. After 3 or 4 people were served that came in after me, I inquired and got my order which was sitting there the whole time. The apologies from the server were genuine and provided a good recovery.

4. How about the hearing doctor that asked “how may I help you” while looking at the computer screen at his front desk and not at the customer who was there because she had lost her hearing aid? When he finally made eye contact, the customer and he were able to communicate.

5. Believe it or not, the VA Clinic in Viera has great service. They recently changed their lab from appointment only to a numbered ticket system. I have not had to wait over 10 minutes for blood and urine donations since. Primary Care provider, Dr. Henriquez, gets good marks for service, as do his nurses.

6. Sherwin Williams offers a line of paints called ‘Seaguard’ that is only available from a few outlets…not all Sherwin Williams stores. According to my local Sherwin Williams store: (a) I can’t order Seaguard from them, (b) they think a couple of stores on the coast handle that line, and (c) they can’t tell me anything about the line or provide a number for a store that does.
With some perseverance, I found a store in Tampa that sells the line. Specialty Coating, Industrial Coating…whatever. If it is a Sherwin Williams product, the local store should be able to tell me how to buy some.

7. I won’t dignify the program by naming it. But, don’t you hate to download a program that you need and want and get 5 other programs that you don’t want with the download? Worse, this particular program has a screen that asks if you want the add-on programs and even if you say no-you get them on the download.

8. Amazon Hose & Rubber in Orlando has great counter service.

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Heavy Metal & Yucky Fiberglass

Posted October 4, 2013 By tjflynn

My current passion / project / money vacuum is a sailboat. I’ve had a few power boats this big, but never a sailboat. I am new to sailing. I am new to sailboat nomenclature. Consequently, I’m learning an entirely new vocabulary and slowing my MoJo from throttle-down, fuel-buying, wave hopping, lets go. To full displacement hulled, cutting through the water at turtle-like speeds, smelling the roses and everything else along the way.

With a literal heap of heavy not working stuff, it was a small mental and physical jump to consider changing diesel to electric back-up power. Eight thousand to rebuild the old Yanmar…considerably less (I’m hoping) to change to electric. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA So, I just takes the old diesel drinker out. Viola! And now I has room to put in the Flux Capacitor. no motor

I’m meeting an entirely new group of service providers. Most of them providing services that I didn’t suspect existed before I became a sailor. Holy crap! I just realized something when I wrote that. I am a United States Marine, describing myself as a sailor just doesn’t fit somehow. I’m a lean-mean-fighting machine, not a rust scraping, deck swabbing, gray paint sloshing, sissy, wearing a white cape and a bowl on my head. I take that back. I am not a sailor. I am a Marine operating (working on) a sailboat. That is something completely different. If I want to scrape rust, swab decks and paint something gray, I’ll damn well do it.

I will tell you guys more about these service providers as we go along. For now, I can tell you that hauling then cleaning then painting the hull of a sailboat is normal on a recurring basis. Usually every year. I never knew this. That’s a lot of work every year. That’s a lot of money every year.

Between Jacksonville and Stuart there are lots of people who do this work. I’ve spoken to several of them. Thinking back over the conversations and venues was an interesting exercise.

I’ve met several of these people on the phone. All of those on the phone were not men. All of those people, who were not men, on the phone had to call me back with estimates. I suspect that those people, who were not men, who had to call me back with estimates, had to talk to a man before they called me back. Maybe not. I still suspect yes, though.

Of those who were not women, one took me into an office that could have been used in an old movie. It was complete with ships charts, brass portholes and all such accoutrement as one would envision to be in a retired admiral’s private study. This place was clean, tidy, shiny and made the hair on the back of my neck stand up the whole time I was sitting there looking at vinyl-covered price sheets in leather binders. The old salt was uppity, befitting his surroundings, but his prices were not that bad.

My favorite place and provider, and where I’ll have P-4’s nasty bottom wiped and powdered is near where the boat lives now. In case you missed it, P-4 is her name. She lives in the Trout River. She doesn’t like it there, but that’s for another post as well.

Bronson and Tommy, at the St. Johns Boat Company, were impressive in their knowledge, friendliness and apparent willingness to work with customers fairly. They understand the basics of service. I think that even I can learn something from them about service.

The other provider for today has nothing to do with bottoms or paint or fiberglass. He is Don at Precision Cycle in Orlando. I found him on the internet. He’s machining and welding a doo-hickie that is the marriage of an old splined transmission coupling and a new keyed shaft sprocket holder. This metal thing will primarily serve to allow the motor to turn the prop. AND allow the prop to turn the motor.

I get goosebumps contemplating how cool electric motorizing is. See, when the electric motor is turning the prop, it

    uses

battery power but when the boat is under sail, the motor is off, but the prop turns the motor now and it acts as a

    generator

of battery power. How cool is that?

Anyway, Don hasn’t done the thing yet. But, I can tell from talking to him, (1) it will be done when he promised, (2) it won’t break or fail (3) it will carry the pride of his craftsmanship and bear out his reputation

Don knows a thing or two about service.

These guys are the kind of guys that you guys want to do business with. Finding guys like these guys is what keeps this guy from writing negative comments about guys that should not even be mentioned in the same breath as guys that provide good service.

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I’ll Take Goodwill over Salvation (Army)

Posted October 2, 2013 By tjflynn

It feels like I’ve been moving for years. Moving from one floor to another. One house to another. One state to another. I just moved again.

Through all of these moves, Goodwill has been my re-purpose facility of choice. If a particular item was a duplicate, or had the stigma (smell) of a former wife, or for some other reason did not make the cut of items packed-I found the nearest Goodwill to shelter it.

I believe the TV ads that say donating to Goodwill provides good things for people. I hope that a lot of my trash has been another man’s (or woman’s) treasure. To complete the cycle, when I’m not donating stuff to Goodwill, I’m scouring every one that I pass looking for antiques and bargains. It’s the ‘circle of junk’, similar to the circle of life except inanimate things don’t die, rot and provide nourishment for other inanimate things. It just seems as if they do when you go to Goodwill all the time.

Other than someone working for Goodwill, there may not be a person alive that has been in more of them than me. Let’s further qualify ‘being in’ them as dropping off or picking up stuff there. The 2nd Ex has probably been in as many as me, but in terms of sheer mass, has not moved the pounds that I have in and out of them. Dammit, there’s another useless distinction to add to my list.

Yea Goodwill. I know what to expect when I go there.

Okay, so I went to a Salvation Army store to drop off some stuff a few weeks ago and their business model is completely different. Instead of friendly people helping you to unload your crap and giving you a receipt, there is a gestapo-like sergeant (armed with Wyatt Earp’s 12″ barrel colt revolver I think) standing at the door. Once you proudly motion towards, scan and verbally list your valued possessions that need new homes, he yells out, “We’ll take the silver bars and the perfect furniture, get the rest of this useless crap off of my lot. You have 8 seconds. One…” KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

If you’re like me, you will still be in a mouth open, glazed eye state of shock when you think that you hear the unmistakeable snap of the leather strap holding the hog-leg in it’s holster being loosed and the reverberating staccato of the hammer being pulled back. I would not be far afield to say that my son-in-law soiled himself during this interaction, to which he was only peripherally involved.

Friends, frogs and knuckleheads, I won’t go back to a Salvation Army…ever…for any reason.

The person that your customers interact with is the face of your business.

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